Once More Into the Breach: 2nd Tracks Supports Engineers, Tanks

Once More Into the Breach: 2nd Tracks Supports Engineers, Tanks

Assault amphibious vehicles with 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, move toward the unit's objective during an obstacle-breaching exercise on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., May 20, 2015. The exercise built camaraderie within the battalion and cooperation between 2nd AA Bn. and other units participating in the training. Photo by Cpl. Sullivan Laramie.

CAMP LEJEUNE, North Carolina (May 29, 2015) – The sound of grinding treads and rumbling engines roll across the open field. The Marines have arrived. Once in position combat engineers file out the rear of the vehicles while heavy breaching vehicles plow through barriers in the path to their objective.         

Marines with 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 2nd Marine Division supported 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion and 2nd Tank Battalion during an obstacle-breaching exercise on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, May 18-21, 2015.        

"It builds camaraderie and it helps other units know what we can and can't do," said Cpl Joshua Law, an assault amphibious vehicle crew chief with 2nd AA Bn. "What some units can't do, we can do with ease. We were supporting them and it was fun, lots of fun."          

The mission of 2nd AA Bn. is to land the ground forces and their equipment during amphibious operations, and to conduct mechanized operations and related combat support missions. The battalion provided transportation for combat engineers and additional firepower for security during obstacle-clearing operations conducted by engineers and tanks.

The battalion regularly attaches companies to other units on deployments, and obstacle breaching is just one type of operation they may encounter overseas. Training exercises such as this serve to strengthen the battalion and II Marine Expeditionary Force.

A combined attack of AAVs and engineers moving on foot took a force of Marines, who portrayed enemy combatants, by surprise before they could complete their defenses. The attack served as an experience for the Marines to draw on in order to improve their abilities for future operations. Real-world scenarios like this allow Marines to apply training in various situations more effectively.        

"There are obstacles that the enemy puts out at any given time, and we've got to overcome that and not be put into choke points where we could get ambushed and become ineffective," said. Cpl Charles Baker, an assault amphibious vehicle crewman and a native of Wichita, Kansas. "It shows what each section is capable of when everybody gets together, and it gives everybody more appreciation for the different sections."          

Maintaining the readiness of amphibious units, even during non-amphibious operations, is vital to the expeditionary nature of the Marine Corps, as shown by the battalion's participation in land combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.          

"It's really important to know [which] vehicles are able to accomplish what and to be able to overcome obstacles," Baker said. "It kind of gives everybody more knowledge and more experience when it comes to doing the basics. We're just training like we fight."

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